Monthly Archives: November 2012

My Cup Cake

I am a full-time employee, full-time mom, part-time maid and part-time broken record player. Everybody is familiar with employee and mom job (you think you know mom job but trust me unless you are one you know nothing). The maid part is to constantly pick up after my child in spite of having household help and the record player part is constantly saying “no”. “No” you can’t watch TV, “No” you can’t pick your nose in public….and there are more embarrassing things a mom has to say. Children have always been a favorite subject for me since I was a child myself. I feel the times that I grew up are very different from the times that my child is growing up in. I often wonder if kids have too many things these days. My son has way too many things and no matter how much I try I don’t think he appreciates how many things (toys, clothes, books, shoes) he has. When I was looking for volunteering activities and came across Shlok, I obviously was very happy since it was to teach kids. Someone once said “life is all about averages” so I will not say these kids are less fortunate and we are the fortunate ones so we need to help them out. It is just that they do not have the financial resources that we do but they probably have some things that we do not have. Here’s one such incident. Today we had books and pencil box drive at the school. In addition to that some generous sponsor(s) also wanted to distribute cup cakes to the kids on the occasion of Children’s day. Obviously the kids were very excited and it was a task to distribute the cakes to such excited crowd. As we were distributing the kids started eating. There was this little girl who was not eating her cake. She put it in her bag. I asked her why she was not eating, and she said she will eat it later. I insisted that she eat the cake and her response brought tears into my eyes. She said “I will give it to mom”. I get emotional even as I write this. Here was this kid, who probably never ate a cup cake but did not want to eat it without sharing it with her mom. As a mother this immediately made me think, is my child so considerate?(not that I want him to give me cup cakes) Today’s kids are very self-centered if not selfish. In the rat race of career and taking care of my kid, I often find myself numb to any emotions. The little girl’s kindness, her thoughtfulness and even her spirit of sacrifice (I think it took a lot for the kid to not eat the cake when the whole class was eating) brought a fresh breeze of emotion into me. This is not the first time I’ve had such experience with kids from my volunteer activity. I’ve had more lessons from kids than what I taught them.

Whenever I talk of volunteer activities to my friends and when I hear the excuse of no time, this is what I feel like telling them about how I see it for myself. There are 168 hours in a week and if I cannot take out 3 hours to give back to the society then there is no point of the 168 hours. It is really dumb of me to say “giving it back to the society” because what I get out of the 3 hours is way more than what I give. Kids are wonderful, they are unconditional, they are spontaneous and they don’t know malice. Just being around them gives you that wonderful good energy. Especially these kids, they are so welcoming. My Saturdays are so worthless when I am not at the school.

P:S: even the books and the pencil boxes were donated by the group.

When will you teach standard 7

smiling-faces-always

So there we were, with a new set of volunteers and finally ready to take on class 4.

We were joined by our colleague from IBM Daksh and this was her 1st class teaching kids..

We are an organization born mainly out of IBM, though we strive to increase local community participation in our organization as a means of doing something meaningful with our Saturday time and also giving back to the society.

Coming back to the present, i was outside class 4 when a kid from class 7 looked @ me and said ‘wont you teach english to class 7′, for a second i was struck for words and then what seemed like the longest time i felt so touched that i had to look away..

As our volunteer based grows we are now faced with this question, should we continue teaching standard 1 to 4 or do we go up from class 5 to 10, this is a larger question which the group continues to debate and perhaps will continue to do so as we grow.

I still thinking of how to answer that question which the girl asked me and it remains to date one of the most intense rushes of emotion that i have experienced

 

The Rising

Can’t see nothin’ in front of me
Can’t see nothin’ coming up behind
I make my way through this darkness
I can’t feel nothing but this chain that binds me
Lost track of how far I’ve gone
How far I’ve gone, how high I’ve climbed
On my back’s a sixty pound stone
On my shoulder a half mile line

Sky of blackness and sorrow (a dream of life)
Sky of love, sky of tears (a dream of life)
Sky of glory and sadness (a dream of life)
Sky of mercy, sky of fear (a dream of life)
Sky of memory and shadow (a dream of life)
Your burnin’ wind fills my arms tonight
Sky of longing and emptiness (a dream of life)
Sky of fullness, sky of blessed life (a dream of life

Words from Bruce Springsteen’s – “The Rising” echo through my head as I put these thoughts down, because that is almost exactly how I feel, after making a journey with Shlok since its inception on July 14th, 2012. Doing the work we are doing is a source of happiness, confidence and now has even begun giving me the goosebumps. Goosebumps because, I feel there is a rising somewhere from deep within, inexplicable,ineffable and a feeling you can understand only if you were a part of this journey. Its a feeling that moves you, shakes you, breaks you and something I cant justify using mere words.

That’s how I feel today, after volunteering with Shlok and being a part of a wonderful family that has grown. Grown from strength to strength in terms of wonderful and dedicated volunteers joining in every week.  I strongly beleive the cause is above everything else. A strong belief in the cause is what is taking us forward, giving us strength and helping us make a difference.

So much so that we even have volunteers joining us from as far as 25 kms away, volunteers who work until 3am on a saturday, but still turn up at 9am to teach…Volunteers from the young and old , who put everything else aside for the 2 something hours they spend teaching every weekend.

As we are on the threshold of yet another eagerly awaited weekend, come join us in our Books and Stationery donation drive planned for classes 3 and 4. So, come on up for the rising!

Just a thought to ponder upon – There are 45000 such schools across Karnataka alone(as per Akshara foundation), and the difference we are making is smaller than a drop in the ocean.